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Crave does away with $9.99 basic package, adds mobile-only streaming option instead

TORONTO — Price increases are heading to some Crave subscribers as the Canadian streaming platform rejigs its service to introduce a new mobile-only option.
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TORONTO — Price increases are heading to some Crave subscribers as the Canadian streaming platform rejigs its service to introduce a new mobile-only option.

The Bell Media-operated service says it is no longer offering what's known as its "basic" tier, which gave viewers a limited library of older HBO titles, Showtime and Crave Originals for a relatively low price of $9.99 per month.

Instead, for $9.99, Crave Mobile offers access to Crave’s entire library through a mobile app or the Crave website, but is limited to one viewer stream at a time on a single registered mobile device, making it tough to split a subscription with another user.

The new offering effectively replaces Crave's basic tier price point and broadens the programming selection, but doesn't support downloading episodes onto phones, nor casting to televisions and isn't accessible on TV apps, such as Roku or Apple TV.

Meanwhile, the higher tier called Crave Plus has been renamed Crave Total but otherwise offers the same broader lineup of HBO series, some HBO Max shows, Showtime and recent movies for $19.99. Downloaded shows and movies are optional and up to four streams can take place at the same time.

The change largely impacts Crave basic subscribers who were less interested in HBO and movies but wanted to catch Showtime series — including the upcoming series "Dexter: New Blood" — and Crave's own "Canada's Drag Race" and "Letterkenny" on their televisions.

Now, those viewers will have to pay double the price to continue watching on their TVs, or maintain the $9.99 price with access only on their phones and computers.

A representative for Bell Media says basic Crave subscribers who pay through the company's website will have access to Crave Total under a trial period until March 29, 2022.

Crave's new packages come after years of holding firm on prices while other major streaming companies, including Netflix and Disney, hiked their monthly bills by several dollars.

Bell Media noted that Starz is still considered an "add-on" service to Crave for an additional $5.99 per month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2021.

David Friend, The Canadian Press